A review by hue
Golden Boys by Phil Stamper

  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Honestly, the back of the book didn't say much at all. But after having read the book, I now see why. 

To say the least, the characters were flat, superficial, and two-dimensional. They didn't feel real, and I didn't much care about their feelings, thoughts, and so forth. The story was divided into four POVs, one for each boy, and written in first person. This muddled the story significantly because they all sounded the exact same. They had the same thoughts, the same reactions, the same existence, essentially. Half the time I wasn't sure who I was following. They all seemed to have one of two reactions every given time; either they were blushing from the smallest of things, or they were crying. That or they were smiling.

Following four different summer vacations was messy and uninspiring. They were way too co-dependent on each other for no reason, sending 'I miss you' texts every given minute and then being sad when their friends, who all were busy with their own stuff, didn't reply immediately. It was irritating, and I don't know any sixteen-year-olds who'd act like this.

I also can't for the love of me understand why Matt would get "back" together with Gabe after he literally ditched him and slept with his ex the moment his ex (Sal) was back in the picture. He never apologized for this, at least not in a way that made his mistake clear (saying it's complicated is an ass excuse for cheating), and yeah maybe Matt and Gabe weren't together together yet, but it still would make me feel very unsure in the relationship if I knew he'd been fooling with his ex immediately after his arrival. It doesn't sit right with me.

Same as Reese getting angry and jealous that Heath, his friend not his boyfriend, kissed another guy. Heath definitely didn't need to apologize for that, and nothing gave Reese the "allowance" to say he's forgiving Heath. There was nothing to forgive.

So, all in all; superficial characters, uninteresting plot, hollow relationships, and a lot of unnecessary cringe. Can't say I'd recommend it. 

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